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Thanks, Eric, for bringing this up.  Some birders and I had a similar experience two weeks ago at Columbia Bottom CA.  We were parking in the lot at the boardwalk.  As we got out of the car, we heard the loud vocalization of the Prothonotary Warbler which nests around the boardwalk annually.  A truck with IL plates was also parked in the lot.  Excitedly, we walked down the boardwalk listening and looking for the warbler without success.  When we left, it occurred to me that the lady in the truck could have been using play-back.  Seeing her parked later, we stopped and asked her, and she admitted she was trying to get the bird to come to her truck.  Really??  An obvious, and often too common, misuse of technology, in our opinion.  

Pat Lueders, Webster Groves 



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> On May 11, 2019, at 12:46 PM, Eric Reuter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> On Friday afternoon Joanna and I took a shot at finding the Swainson’s Warbler others have reported at Grindstone Park in Columbia. We walked various trail loops from about 5-6 pm, centered on its expected location, hearing and seeing a variety of other interesting things (like courting Flickers; really cool and could be its own MoBirds post) but no warbler.
> 
> Just after 6, we had started up the trail along the top of Lost Hill when we heard a very clear Swainson’s song through the woods behind us, in the direction of the major trail intersection where it’s been reported before. We heard the song three times in steady succession, but due to thick vegetation could not see its source or the trails on that side of the woods. We hurried back down and around the trails and waited for another ~20 minutes in the most likely area, but never heard it again.
> 
> This raises a common concern of mine about people using playback to call in birds: you often don’t know whether other birders are nearby (particularly in public areas like this heavily-used park with obscured sightlines) and what effect your phone has in the soundscape. We’re absolutely sure we heard a Swainson’s Warbler song, which would be a life bird for both of us. However, given that multiple people have reported using playback in the last few days to trick this bird into vocalizing or approaching, we can’t be 100% sure we didn’t hear another birder’s phone instead of the real bird. Although the quality and projection we heard implied a real bird, there will always be an asterisk in our minds about this possible life bird because of the known repeated use of playback at this location. For this reason, we did not include it in our eBird list.
> 
> I’m generally not in favor of using artificial sound for a variety of reasons, including unnecessary stimulation of birds and an old-school sense of “fair play” that likes finding birds (or not) based on skill and perseverance rather than technology. Those are personal decisions that don’t affect others, but the use of playback does affect others when it causes confusion or disruption. Both Joanna and I particularly enjoy birding by ear and studying bird behavior, making our enjoyment of birding especially sensitive to playback issues. The ABA Code of Ethics specifically says:
> 
> “Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.”
> 
> I hope birders will continue to give thought to the full context of using playback, which is a useful tool at times but can also be abused to the detriment of birders who feel uncomfortable protesting its use or don’t have the chance to.
> 
> Checklist here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56126473
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
> ABA Birding Code of Ethics
> http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
> ASM Spring Meeting: May 3-5, 2019 at Bunker Hill Retreat near Mountain View, MO
> Details and online registration at: http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx

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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
ASM Spring Meeting: May 3-5, 2019 at Bunker Hill Retreat near Mountain View, MO
Details and online registration at: http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx